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My Sister Died From a Heroin Overdose

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  • My Sister Died From a Heroin Overdose

    On May 31, 2017, I got up and got in the shower like I would any Wednesday morning. I dropped my kids off at school and got on the bus like every other day. I made it more than half way to work when my phone rang from my boyfriend and he said “nic, you have to come home”. I asked why and he said “it’s your sister”. I still had no idea what was going on but I immediately hung up and called my boss and told her that I wasn’t going to make it in. I got off the bus and ran down the street to catch the bus in the other direction. My boyfriend called back. He simply said “nic, she’s gone.” I asked where she went and he broke it down for me in terms that I could understand. I was on the corner of 19th and Pine in Center City Philadelphia screaming at the top of my lungs. Literally howling. My boss eventually found me and ubered me home. I don’t even remember calling her back or talking to anyone I talked to in that short period of time before she found me. It only took me 30 minutes to get home from the point of that call but it felt like an eternity.

    My sister died from a heroin overdose. She struggled with her addiction for years. Let me just clear the air and let everyone know that my sister didn’t choose to live that life. She fought long and fought hard to take back the life that was stolen from her by addiction. It was stronger than her. For a while I truly didn’t understand why she just couldn’t stop until I educated myself. I fought like hell with my sister. We would sometimes fist fight like men in a boxing ring. But when push came to shove, I could fight my sister. YOU could not because that was my baby sister and I would go through extreme measures to protect her. I still will.

    The last months of her life she spent in recovery. She was in an inpatient facility for treatment. She was released and got a job at UPS. She spent her evenings in meetings. I live right across the street from my parents so we would see each other every day. It was like we were still little kids under the same roof most days. The night before she died, when she walked up my street, she told me she was tired and just wanted to go to bed. I said “ok, good night boog”. She said “good night cole, love you”. I said “I love you too tone”. I had absolutely no idea that she relapsed. The next morning My mother found her holding rosary beads and with her prayer cards and recovery books surrounding her. She died. My sister lost her life. She was fighting for her life that night. She was fighting the demons in her mind that pushed her to be an active addict. She just couldn’t fight anymore. And my whole world was flipped upside down. My sister called me or Sonny for every little thing. If she heard a noise that creeped her out at 4am, she called. If she was bored and wanted to chit chat, she called. If she was hungry, she called. I will never understand why she didn’t call that night. Why didn’t she tell me she needed me? Was there anything that I could have done to prevent this? Yes, my sister was an addict. She is a daughter, a granddaughter, a niece, an aunt, and a sister. My sister. No matter what the circumstances may be, Toni will always be my baby sister.

    Over the course of one whole year, I have tried over and over again to describe with words what it felt like and still feels like to lose my little sister. I’ve read articles that said it feels like getting the wind knocked out of you and spending your whole life trying to catch your breath. Another article read that losing a sibling is like losing a limb. In the past year, I’ve tried countless times to explain the feeling but it’s nearly impossible. I feel like I failed at my duty as a big sister. I was supposed to be her protector. I truly did try and beat myself up every single day wondering “what if”. I feel like my childhood memories are only mine to keep now, and my inside jokes aren’t funny anymore because no one else will ever understand them. I can’t just pick up the phone and tell ask my sister to break my new shoes in for me or watch my kids for an hour. I’m distraught over the fact that my kids have been cheated now because they’ll never get to know her the way I did. I’m angry because I feel like the one person who was suppose to stand beside me the longest life isn’t here to face the every day struggles that I now have to face alone. I feel like I can’t ever get married because I’ll never have a maid of honor. I feel like my future has been compromised because I absolutely cannot let go of the past because memories and pictures are all I have left. Scientists say that there are different stages of grieving. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. That’s describes how my days go by. I wake up in denial and then get angry. I begin bargaining with God to take me instead and become depressed when I realize it’s too late. It’s the acceptance part that consumes the most space in my life and mind. I can’t accept the fact that she’s gone. I spend numerous sleepless nights laying in the dark remembering what she looked like and imagining what she would look like twenty years from now. She’s the very first thing I think of when I open my eyes and the last thing I think of before I go to sleep.

    I’m not looking for a pity party. By sharing this, I hope to bring hope to another sibling possibly suffering the way I am. No, the wound doesn’t go away and the whole world will definitely keep spinning even though your whole world feels like it has stopped. The only way to go on is to just keep on moving. You’ll break down at the most random times and over the simplest things. It’s doesn’t stop. It never hurts any less. You just learn to live with this excruciating pain and a hole in your heart. When my sister died, a piece of me died too. You’ll find out who your friends are. You’ll look at the world differently. Nothing will ever be the same but hold on to the fact that the rest of your life is a series of obstacles you have to face before you can be reunited once again.

    By sharing this story, I hope to let someone fighting the way Toni did know that there are many people that care. There are people in the world who won’t judge you and understand that it’s out of your control. By sharing this story I hope to bring awareness to those who do not understand. You may never understand but I believe that there is good to be found in each of us. Instead of laughing at that guy nodding out on the corner, call 911, that’s someone’s son, or someone’s father. Instead of recording that girl on the bus falling asleep while her baby cries, recognize the fact that she could have relapsed. Her and her child need help. Stop making jokes and ignoring the problem. The opioid epidemic is killing off society as a whole. What some of you fail to understand that losing someone to addiction doesn’t just mean that person dies. That means a mother is burying their child. That means a child is burying their parent. These are people. They have families. Addiction is a family fight and it tears families apart, shred by shred.

    I spent a whole year trying to write this. It’s not perfect. I’m sure somewhere in here there is a spelling mistake and a grammatical error. I spent a year trying to find the words to comfort someone. Trying to find words to comfort myself.
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Nicole, welcome to our heroin addiction and recovery discussion and support forum and thank you for taking time to share your story and your sisters. I am truly sorry for your loss. So many people are losing loved ones to this awful drug, addiction and overdose. It is our hope that we would be able to reach more people save more lives there are so many people out there that need help but don’t yet want to help. Those people are at the highest risk. Our community will be praying for you and your family. Your sister rest in peace

    Peace and love,

    William
    Publisher of Kill the Heroin Epidemic Nationwide™, Heroin News and the National Alliance of Addiction Treatment Centers.

    Find a Prescreened Addiction Treatment Center & Drug Rehab Facility

    Visit our Heroin Addiction & Recovery Blog for daily articles.

    I do my best to educate myself regarding addiction and recovery related issue, treatment options, etc. however, I am not a medical professional. All opinions are my own and any advice you take from me is at your own risk and discretion

    Comment


    • #3
      Hi Nicole,
      So sorry for your loss. I understand your pain. Lost a son but not to drugs and have another son in recovery and pray everyday for him to have the strength to stay sober. I would like to say to you to that your sister would want you to have a wonderful, happy life. Be well.

      Comment


      • #4
        Hey sunflower, so good to see you posting again, it’s been a while. How have you been? I hope all is well.

        Peace and love,

        William
        Publisher of Kill the Heroin Epidemic Nationwide™, Heroin News and the National Alliance of Addiction Treatment Centers.

        Find a Prescreened Addiction Treatment Center & Drug Rehab Facility

        Visit our Heroin Addiction & Recovery Blog for daily articles.

        I do my best to educate myself regarding addiction and recovery related issue, treatment options, etc. however, I am not a medical professional. All opinions are my own and any advice you take from me is at your own risk and discretion

        Comment

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